Read Matthew 4
Have you ever gone on vacation for a week or two weeks and paused momentarily before you opened the door to go back to work.
You knew what was beyond that door. When you left to go on that well deserved holiday, you had everything in order, were two weeks ahead on everything that you could be two weeks ahead on, and you left knowing that you left things in as good a condition as they could be.
Now once you return, you know that Mr. Murphy will have been at work applying his axioms, General Confusion will have received his 4th star for all of the mayhem he has created, and you will be launched from a very relaxed state to 220 miles per hour in an instant.
At least that is how it used to be. Now with smart phones it is hard to ever get away completely, but even when you are sort of plugged in while you are away, it’s still zero to sixty in about half a second when you get back.
Some people never go on vacation because they can’t stand the G-force that hits them when they return.
That’s what I want you to think of as you consider the Spirit of God leading Jesus into the wilderness. Leading or led is a good term, but the Greek word from which most translate the word “led” or “led up” is anagó (ἀνάγω) and most of the definitions for this word are nautical.
· Put to sea
· Set sail
The Spirit threw Jesus into the deep end of the pool, except the pool was a desert. It is not that the life of Jesus was boring up to this point, but from the moment of his baptism, things jump into gear.
And so we read of the temptation of Jesus. It is the temptation of a man who knows the Father better than any other man, but still he is tempted as a man.
He is hungry. He has gone without food for 40 days. His temptation is real and his body is in a weakened condition. In John 4, Jesus told his disciples that he had food they didn’t know about. That food was to do the will of his Father—to finish that work.
That was the only subsistence that Jesus had in the wilderness. We say that God is all knowing and surely he knew the trials and temptations of those he had created in his image; but here we see Jesus tasting pain and hunger and temptation as a man.
Jesus refused to invoke the power of God to make food, he did not tempt God, and he worshiped no one other than the one true God—his Father.
The temptation concluded, Jesus sent Satan on his way, and the angels came and attended to Jesus.
Sometimes we look at the power and authority of the scriptures in this temptation. Today we just acknowledge that Jesus was tempted when he was about as weak as a human can be and still be conscious, and he remained faithful to his Father.
Jesus was baptized: Game on!
Jesus overcomes temptation: Underway. Shift Colors! Sticking to the nautical theme that accompanied Jesus being launched into the desert, we can say that his ministry is now truly underway.
Jesus next moved from Nazareth to Capernaum, but still in the region of Galilee. This leads us to believe that he had some sort of household in Nazareth and set up some sort of home in Capernaum.
And then he began to preach. What did he preach? The Kingdom of God is at hand.
Next Jesus calls his first disciples. Peter, Andrew, James, and John were called from their work to follow Jesus.
No rabbi calls fishermen to be his disciples, but Jesus did.
Next, Jesus added healing to his preaching, and the crowds came from all over.
In few words in Matthew’s gospel, we see baptism, temptation, moving his home to a new location, preaching, calling disciples, healing the sick, and the gathering of crowds.
The ministry of Jesus was underway. Up to this point, we could read these first few chapters as if we were reading a history book. There are some things to be applied to our own lives, but most of this gospel so far has been about getting Jesus to and across the starting line of his ministry.
That has been done. From this point forward, most of what we study will hit us right between the eyes. Get ready. It is time to meet for the Sermon on the Mount.